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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : Chapter 42.--Old Testament Testimonies.

Anti-pelagian Writings by St. Augustine

Chapter 42.--Old Testament Testimonies.

Therefore also it is in vain that objectors have alleged, that what we have proved by Scripture testimony from the books of Kings and Chronicles is not pertinent to the subject of which we are discoursing: such, for instance, as that when God wills that to be done which ought only to be done by the willing men, their hearts are inclined to will this, -- inclined, that is to say, by His power, who, in a marvellous and ineffable manner, worketh in us also to will. What else is this than to say nothing, and yet to contradict? Unless perchance, they have given some reason to you for the view that they have taken, which reason you have preferred to say nothing about in your letters. But what that reason can be I do not know. Whether, possibly, since we have shown that God has so acted on the hearts of men, and has induced the wills of those whom He pleased to this point, that Saul or David should be established as king, -- do they not think that these instances are appropriate to this subject, because to reign in this world temporally is not the same thing as to reign eternally with God? And so do they suppose that God inclines the wills of those whom He pleases to the attainment of earthly kingdoms, but does not incline them to the attainment of a heavenly kingdom? But I think that it was in reference to the kingdom of heaven, and not to an earthly kingdom, that it was said, |Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies;| or, |The steps of a man are ordered by the Lord, and He will will His way;| or, |The will is prepared by the Lord;| or, |Let our Lord be with us as with our fathers; let Him not forsake us, nor turn Himself away from us; let Him incline our hearts unto Him, that we may walk in all His ways;| or, |I will give them a heart to know me, and ears that hear;| or, |I will give them another heart, and a new spirit will I give them.| Let them also hear this, |I will give my Spirit within you, and I will cause you to walk in my righteousness; and ye shall observe my judgments, and do them.| Let them hear, |Man's goings are directed by the Lord, and how can a man understand His ways?| Let them hear, |Every man seemeth right to himself, but the Lord directeth the hearts.| Let them hear, |As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.| Let them hear these passages, and whatever others of the kind I have not mentioned in which God is declared to prepare and to convert men's wills, even for the kingdom of heaven and for eternal life. And consider what sort of a thing it is to believe that God worketh men's wills for the foundation of earthly kingdoms, but that men work their own wills for the attainment of the kingdom of heaven.
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